His life began under trying circumstances. Now, at the age of 14, his life has ended the same way.
For Dennis Lindberg, most of his childhood depended on the kindness of strangers to help him survive. A few weeks ago, he made a decision that contributed to his death Wednesday night.
The Mount Vernon teenager was diagnosed with leukemia Nov. 8 and since then had been confined to Seattle's Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center.
Doctors said he needed blood transfusions to survive potentially lifesaving cancer treatments. But as a practicing Jehovah's Witness, Lindberg refused. Despite his age, he had been declared what is known as a "mature minor," meaning he was considered mature enough to make decisions about his treatment.
Jehovah's Witnesses believe accepting a blood transfusion violates God's law.
His aunt, Dianna Mincin, became his legal guardian four years ago after his father, now a recovering addict, was jailed for drug possession.
Mincin is also a Jehovah's Witness, and supported Dennis' decision.
The boy's biological parents did not.
Dennis Lindberg Sr. -- Mincin's brother -- and Rachel Wherry flew to Seattle from their home in Boise on Tuesday to attend a 9 a.m. hearing, hoping a judge could force the transfusions.
Wednesday morning, after hearing from the parents, the aunt, social workers and the boy's doctor, Skagit County Superior Court Judge John Meyer denied the plea. About 9 p.m., Lindberg Sr. called the Seattle P-I to say his son had died in his hospital bed.
With the transfusions and other treatment, Lindberg had been given a 70 percent chance of surviving the next five years, Meyer said in court, based on what the boy's doctors told him. Without them, he was likely...more at]
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